CAE to CAF 3: Therapist

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My best friend has walked with me through so many seasons of my life.

He and I met when we were 18 and 17, respectively. We clicked instantly, but I had no idea he’d become such a major part of my life.

I remember one time in 2007 we were walking across campus (Go Green!) to praise team rehearsal and I just listened to him pour out his heart about the choir (MSU Gospel Choir) and his feelings about being assistant director.

Fast forward to 2010 when we became inseparable. It got easier and easier to talk to him about almost anything and I knew he’d listen without judgment and would help me see the bigger picture.

So in 2017, after seeing a licensed therapist for sometime (Daughter Status) she convinced me to apply to the counseling program at Ashland Theological Seminary. It took some time, but I eventually convinced Tyrone to apply as well. After all, he had been my therapist for years and I’d heard snippets of conversations he had with others when he’d walk with through difficult times with such grace.

It was during this season of our friendship when we realized that the strength of our relationship was built on our abilities to be honest with each, challenge each other, and give grace to each other.

Tyrone had been my therapist for years. Ashland allowed us the opportunity to be more equipped to healthily engage others and one another. He learned how to be an even safer space for me. I didn’t know that it was possible. It opened up my mind to wonder how much more I didn’t know was available to us in our relationship.

Our time spent as seminarians was cleansing and refreshing. It was a beautiful experience to watch my best friend intentionally become a more mentally healthy person. I began to realize that I wanted to ensure that I get a closer seat in the audience of his life as God reveals more of His purpose for Tyrone. As I took my seat in the audience of his life, God ushered me to the stage with him.

Now, we get to be covenant partners and watch the Lord move in a whole new way in our relationship.

2 years later, we both have masters degrees in counseling and we found our forever partner.

Drink some water. Get a licensed therapist.

CAE to CAF 4: Entrepreneurship

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This series is called CAE to CAF to highlight my most obvious identity change, my name, but this season of my life has changed many of my identities.

Since I was 15, I have seen myself and identified as an educator. 15 years later, however, I know hold two advanced degrees in social science. I’m legitimately a counselor. I emphasize legitimately because many educators counsel their kids and I wouldn’t be who I am without their willingness to expand their roles as teachers.

Anywho… I’m a teacher. I’m a counselor. On weekends, I’m a waitress. I spend majority of my time finding out what people need and serving them. Servant leadership has been part of my identity since long before I knew the term. Its role increased tremendously when I took on my latest (and my prevalent) title: entrepreneur.

I co-own two businesses. Elevated Education Center, my childcare center and God Be Goddin’, my Christian apparel line.

I have years of classroom experience as an early childhood educator, but I never expected to be the boss. Yet, here I am. It has taken a new level of energy and commitment because now I serve my children, their parents, and my staff. I’m bombarded by questions, requests, and needs all day every day. All. Day. EVERY. Day.

This has been EXTREMELY difficult for me since the beginning. There is absolutely no way I could have made it through this first year without Tyrone. I needed to be able to come home to him. I needed him to be one person I can always count on to serve ME.

It is a blessing when he comes by the center when he leaves work and grabs the vacuum while I interact with my last couple kids. When he grabs the trash at the end of the school day, it translates as love to me. When he listens to my stories about the babies I feel heard. And the fact that he doesn’t pressure me into domestic roles has encouraged me to want to fill them even more. Working for people is hard and draining. I’m grateful to have someone who fills me.

Autistic Autonomy 

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The Social Learning Theory basically suggests that people learn by watching other people do things. Typically, we observe and imitate others’ behaviors. This is seen with in almost every facet of society, from adults at a bar for the first time to toddlers in the toy kitchen.

But what do we do when there are people who can be in the same room as other people or even be very physically close to them and not notice them at all? What do we do when  there are people who have to be taught how to observe behaviors? Why do we feel like we have to teach them to be like us?

Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to spend a significant amount of time with people on the autism spectrum. A few of them are labeled as “non-verbal” so my definition of communication has been stretched more than I thought possible. I’ve had to learn to understand what that longing look means. It has taken work to figure out why they smile when they hear certain sounds.

It is interesting how much external motivation plays a role in our everyday behaviors. I never realized that until I wanted to motivate a child who didn’t notice me in the room. It left me frustrated at the beginning until I reevaluated the situations. After changing my perception and my focus, I gained an appreciation for their ability to completely escape whenever they want to. I learned to be comfortable when they distanced themselves when they were only sitting a foot away.

In reality, I wasn’t frustrated because the kids didn’t listen. I was frustrated because I wish I could live in a world where no one could influence me to do or be something I didn’t want to do or be.

So many times I have done and said things or NOT done or said things because of the social implications of being rude for not speaking or for speaking.

I’m the educator and I have been all of my post pubescent life. I always learn from my babies. So, I’m taking a page from my newest children. I will do what I want. I will not do what I don’t want, regardless of social implications.

I’m looking for the autistic autonomy.

autism

Black Girl Magic

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She rocks her hair

Short and curly

Or long and straight 


Really… she can do it all. 

With her ample lips 

That complement her wide hips

She overcomes every obstacle 

To create, shape and fill her destiny. 

She is aware of her call. 

To birth all of humanity


To her family she brings sanity

She’s the glue of her community

She is why we understand real unity 

She’ll be the reason we are liberated from poverty


She’s so down to earth, but so out of this world at the same time. 

Just like her hair defies gravity,

She defies the odds and it’s truly mind blowing. 

Intersectionality shows her doubly oppressed identity


It’s hard to understand how she could be 

Amongst the most educated social group

With all of her degrees 


And still takes care of family

Most don’t get it

Because they can’t do it. 

You see, she gets her strength from the most high God. 

His strength allows her to do this with ease so it doesn’t look hard.

She’s smart, talented, resilient, and beautiful. 


With all those facets, I get why they call her magical. 



Dear All Lives Matter

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Dear All Lives Matter,

The schools of Detroit Public Schools (DPS) are being stripped. The teachers are being forced out and being made to look like the villains. Before you know it, DPS won’t exist. Children are being forced to go to schools that don’t have heat, updated books, or enough certified teachers to teach. Everyone knows that a quality education is one of the prerequisites to a successful life. The lives of those children matter because all lives matter.

You might have heard about the Sick Outs, but just in case you haven’t let me catch you up. DPS teachers are calling in sick, in droves. So many are calling in because they really are sick. They’re sick of losing their benefits. They’re sick of taking paycuts. They’re sick of having to teach 40 students per class. They are sick of losing funding. They are sick of being blamed for the failing system. They are sick of knowing that their school district is being intentionally and systematically dismantled by the institution that claims to be supporting them, the state. They are sick of not being able to live lives like people with full time jobs. Their lives and livelihoods matter because all lives matter. So yea, they’re sick, but probably not as sick as our neighbors in Flint.

I know you know about the genocide poisoning unfortunate event that is the lead filled water that’s plaguing the city of Flint. So far, only ten people have died. You and I know that even ten is too many because all lives matter. Different organizations are working together to donate bottled water to the citizens of Flint. This needs to happen because city officials have officially declared that the brown colored water is safe to drink and bathe in.

Detroit and Flint used to be heavily populated cities. They attracted lots of people in decades past because so many jobs were available in car plants. Over the years, the jobs were moved to the suburbs, but the people (who couldn’t afford to move) stayed. Schools are funded based on the property values of the homes surrounding the schools. If neighborhoods are poor so are the schools. Poor schools lose resources and materials. Then, class sizes increase and test scores decrease. The government uses the test information as proof that the teachers, administrators and school board are inept and the solution is for the state to take over. This happened in both Detroit and Flint.

I could say more, but I want this message to reach the people it’s intended to reach before I divulge more details about the crimes being committed against Black people of color  poor people citizens of Michigan so please send this to the leaders of All Lives Matter of Michigan.

Fundamentally, we agree. All lives matter. The way we show that is different though. Let’s meet and discuss this.

Peace,

CAE

P.S. Please tell the modern day slave auctioneers who break up families  Child Protective Services (CPS) that it isn’t ok for them to come and take citizens of Flint’s children because they are refusing to pay water bills for polluted water.

  

Intersectionality 

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My Black Facebook friends are raging
My White Facebook friends are silent

I’m constantly torn between feeling like a sell out 

Or possibly appearing violent. 

Being a young college-educated Christian Black girl 

Has to be one of the most complex identities in the world